Ottawa-based singer/songwriter Rory Taillon is a road warrior, touring across the country and back again. He has the soul of the East coast but the sound of the West in his songs with a voice to match the majesty of the Rockies. Originally from Port Perry in the GTA, his new home allows him to capitalise on the touring opportunities available, crisscrossing the country. Rory Taillon is not just an entertainer, he is a performer. He is a classically trained singer, a multi-instrumentalist and vocally can turn his hand to a variety of genres.
You can hear the new single, “Float” and find out more about the upcoming record “Drifting” in our conversation below!
Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind your upcoming album, “Drifting”?
Drifting is a cathartic look into my struggles with mental health, my frustrations with the stigma of that issue, my fascination with the concept of death and the struggle that most people have to grasp it as a reality that we will all experience. I also tried to really embrace this sound I have been carving out for myself of making a record that is an honest representation of my live performance.
How do you think your community has contributed to your success?
Support from communities is crucial to my successes. You can’t get anywhere without the support of your community and I am incredibly lucky to have more than one. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by my favourite people in the world when I recorded this album, which I think helped make it work and achieve the vibe I was going for. One of the beautiful things about touring as much as I do is that I’ve been welcomed in to a number of communities across Canada. It’s become so wonderful to go back to not only perform for these lovely groups of people, but to see their faces and share a coffee or pint with them and catch up.
What was the first thing that got you interested in music?
I started singing in church when I was a little kid and I kept singing chorally up until the end of high school. When I was around fifteen I bought a Jimi Hendrix CD on a whim because I thought he looked cool on the cover and the music blew my mind. It changed everything for me, I started to learn the guitar so that I could figure out how to express myself the same way as Hendrix expressed himself. It was mind-blowing to me that someone could create a sound so different than anything else I was used to, and I wanted to find my own version of that.
Describe to our audience your music-making process.
It’s never really the same for me. Sometimes I get on a roll with lyric ideas and I write out an entire song without any music. Sometimes it’s entirely the opposite where I create all of the musical parts without any idea where I’m going to go with the lyrics. I think the most common way I write though is I am constantly writing my thoughts and lyrics down in a book and sometimes when I get a riff on the guitar going, I’ll go through my book of ideas and see if any of the lines fit the mood of the music and then I’ll try and build a song around that.
What advice would you give other musicians?
Make music that you like. Work as hard as you can at making your original sound and don’t try to follow what is popular. That and tour. Touring is great, you get to perform so much and you get to see places multiple times that most people if they’re lucky get to see once in their lifetime.
It’s been wonderful getting this music out. I have been playing a lot of the songs live (back when you could play live) and have been working on this album since last summer. I am really happy with how it turned out, it really came together well. Dean Watson, who mixed and engineered this album and my last one, really worked with me and understood the sound I wanted to lay down and he made it happen. It feels great to have worked on this for so long and to pour so much of myself into it and have it out in the world for other people to experience. With the state of the world as it is these days, it’s hard to not be able to tour in support of the album. However we live in a time where people can still get the music digitally and through the mail, so hopefully people will still be able to hear the record.
And finally, if you could collaborate with any musician/band, who would it be? And why?
It would be a tie for me I think between Leif Vollebekk and Dan Mangan. Leif has been doing some amazing things with his music lately. The writing and the feel of his last two records are really interesting and I think we could create some vibe heavy experiences together with his band. Dan Mangan I would just love to write sarcastic sad songs with and I think we could do some interesting vocal work together. A tour with either of these gentleman would be wonderful.